To the Valentine's Day Cynic

Dear Valentine's Day Cynic,

Does Valentine's Day bring out the worst in you? Leave you longing or feeling needy? Do you dread this day on the calendar or roll your eyes every time it comes around?

Perhaps you, too, have wasted many Februaries wishing for flowers, boxes of chocolate, or love notes from an admirer. With each passing Valentine's Day, so too passes the hope that maybe next year someone special will shower you with affection. Instead of celebrating Valentine's Day each year, do you mourn another anniversary of "Single's Awareness Day"?

Romance isn't where true love begins or ends. There's so much more to the ways God shows His love for you.

Or, maybe you have a man of your own. You're dating, engaged, or married, but your man doesn't embrace the day the way you'd hoped he would. Perhaps his card over breakfast doesn't cut it. You long for grand sweeping gestures, romantic dinners at sunset, and words of admiration to pour freely from his lips. So when instead you get a cursory glance and a token rose bouquet from the grocery store, you still don't feel loved.

For whatever reason, you've grown cold and cynical toward love.

The world tells us contentment comes when we are loved by a man. I won't lie, something in my needy heart loves having someone love me back. I've been married ten years to a wonderful, God-fearing man. We have a fantastic marriage. As much as he loves me, it still isn't enough. He can't love me perfectly, the way the Father does. On his best days, I still long for more expressions of love, more frequently, and more grandiose. I crave love, and this often annoys me.

It's time to put the brakes on the cynicism.

Guy or no guy, whether you're waiting for the ring or have been wearing it for fifty years, you are loved with a love more sufficient than any love we could hope to comprehend here on Earth. This isn't a "Jesus is my boyfriend" plea. It's so much more. It's a "Jesus is more sufficient than any boyfriend or husband will ever be" promise.

I am loved. You are loved.

God intends for my husband's love to teach me about His love.

You don't need a consumer holiday or a husband to experience the joy of Jesus' love for you. Romantic love is only one of the countless ways God's love can be understood and grasped. The Father's love is demonstrated through a mother's listening ear, a father's fierce protection, a sister's words of guidance, the caring compassion of a friend, and through the merciful forgiveness of someone you've hurt. God's love is demonstrated, learned, and experienced within the body of Christ every day.

Marriage won't quench your need for love. God intends for my husband's love to teach me about His love. The acceptance I find in my husband Kyle is a shadow of the acceptance I find in Christ. The gentle wisdom and grace I cherish and appreciate in Kyle are fruits of the Spirit given to him by our Father. When I hurt, Kyle's comfort demonstrates the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

I am drawn to my husband's love because it's a small picture of God's love for me. The husband-wife relationship is unique, intimate, and beautiful because it is a reflection pointing to the Father's love for His bride.

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1

We yearn for love because we are created to be loved by a Father who lavishes His love on us. The good news of the gospel is that Christ loved us to the point of death (Phil. 2:8). He gave up His righteousness for our sake (2 Cor. 5:21), bearing our sin and taking our punishment so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God forever. Because of Christ's sacrifice, we are fully accepted and loved forever.

Embrace the Longing

Don't wait for Valentine's Day with the "perfect" guy. Experience real love, every day, with your Creator. He loves you with an unfathomable love. Romance isn't where true love begins or ends. There's so much more to the ways God shows His love for you. Explore the depths of grace and learn about true love.

Longing to be loved isn't something to be ashamed of; it's something to embrace. The longing to be loved is an invitation to the come and know the only Love that will satisfy your heart.

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14–19

This is a valentine to the cynic; a love note to those sick of the world's definition of love. A boyfriend or a husband, a dozen roses, or the most meaningful card won't appease your appetite for affection. Only Christ captivates, so keep yourself in His love (Jude 1:20).

Your Previously Cynical Friend,

Lindsey Carlson

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About the Author

Lindsey Carlson

Lindsey Carlson

Lindsey Carlson is a pastor's wife and the mother of five children. She serves in ministry alongside her husband in Baltimore, Maryland, where they planted Imprint Community Church in 2017. She enjoys teaching and discipling women in her local church and through writing and public speaking. She is the author of Growing in Godliness: A Teen Girl's Guide to Maturing in Christ (Crossway, 2019). 

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